Reader Mai Lee, who gave me the heads-up about the LA Times article today, has also informed me of the sketchy-but-delicious Pho Hoa in Gardena, not to be confused with the mediocre chain of the same name:
When you have time you'll have to try Pho Hoa in Gardena. I think the Pho is delicious nevertheless, I think it's a unique restaurant because there are no women servers or cooks. This place is run by lazy-cigarette smoking-card playing men in their 40s. Once they were so lazy a group of us drove up and a group of them were playing cards outside. They were annoyed we were there! One of the men stood up and grabbed some menus and lead us to a table with crumbs. I asked him if he could clean it. He looked at me pulled his sleeve over his hands bent down wiped the crumbs onto the floor and threw the menus on the table. hahahah ... later an old man brought us our bowls of pho. He had his thumb in the soup. It was so delicious we never complained ... honestly, I think that's the secret ingredient. We used to joke it was a front for Vietnamese money laundering.